Posts Tagged ‘inspiring’

Photo by Kit Carson.

Her neighbors told her that she should leave her baby girl to die.

What was believed to be a severe reaction to a vaccine left her three-month-old child with little to no control of her extremities and frequent body tremors. Her firstborn could barely breast-feed and refused the inexpensive powder formula she had.

She prayed and prayed that God would send someone to correct her daughter’s physical problems, but no Cambodian doctor would commit to long-term oversight of her care. Ten months later, she had developed a system to slowly but surely breast-feed a child whose tongue seemed to have a mind of its own.

Photo by Courtney Cain.

Then a university student from America studying occupational therapy came to her home. The student was referred to her by her local pastor and a couple who operated an orphanage nearby. She started doing weekly exercises with her daughter to improve her mobility. Soon, she started to move her head from side to side and reach for her toys, something that was impossible before.

But that wasn’t enough. The Pediasure drink that she gave her was effective, but would cost three times the mother’s monthly pay. There were other hospitals she could go to, but the transportation and medical costs were too extensive.

A year later, she wasn’t producing enough milk for her baby and options were running out. She weighed less than a pound more than her birth weight. Thankfully one week, the couple said they were able to help arrange a hospital visit so she could have some long-term care. But with such corrupt practices in Cambodia, quality care was a long shot.

Photo by Kit Carson.

When the couple left that night, they paused outside. After a few minutes, they came back into the house because they said they had an urge to pray for her daughter again. The next morning, the baby woke up, saw the powder formula and reached for it, craving it and crying all at once. For the first time in her short yet painstaking life, she was drinking regularly. It was a miracle!

The hospital visit was arranged and the doctors were able to provide a specialized nipple that would be easier for her to feed from. They educated the mother on how to better care for her child. Doctors told her she will never fully recover from what the vaccine did, but she was on her way to living a functional, healthy life.

Photo by Laura Kebede.

Seven months later, she went from 2 lbs to 15 lbs and could focus her eyes on her mother, reach for her when she needed help and was much more aware of her surroundings. One mother’s faith and some help from a few people made the difference between life and death for one baby girl.

Follow the original story:

1. “The Baby”

2. “A Small Plea for Martha”

3. “An update about Martha”

4. “Praise to God for Martha’s recovery”

5. “So far in 2012”


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I dare you to NOT be inspired by Charity:Water‘s video below.



As stated in the title to this post, over the past 5 years, Charity:Water has drilled wells to bring clean water to over 2 million people, in 19 countries.

To raise this money, individuals like YOU ran marathons and lemonade stands, and gave up birthday gifts and hard-earned money. By doing so, these game-changers are counted among those who are more blessed because they gave rather than received. And actually, I would argue that these people who spent their time and treasure to support this cause received MORE than what a typical taker could ever even hope to imagine.

For more information on the water issues, click here for information from the United Nations.

Will you be a part of the EPIC story Charity:Water is participating in, by partnering with them this September?

There’s actually more in it for YOU than you can believe.

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“I think there’s a revolution going on – an economic one, a technical one and a social one. And the heart of it is that for the first time in 150 years, an individual has leverage. An individual can reach way outside what they used to think they could do.” – Seth Godin

Since my freshman or sophomore year in college (2006/2007), I’ve attended a leadership conference called the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. But because I’m busy developing this entrepreneurial venture through my master’s program at the Missouri School of Journalism, I was unable to make it this year. I did, however, come across an AWESOME pre-Summit interview.

The guy above with the cool glasses, wearing a men’s suit accompanied by socks made for 12-year-old girls (he explains this in the video) is Seth Godin — best selling author and “America’s Greatest Marketer,” according to American Way Magazine. One of his most popular books, is Purple Cow — a book about “remarkable products and services.” You might have heard of it. If not, go ahead and look it up.

The video above is a four-minute’ish clip of an interview with Seth just hours before he hops on the Summit stage for his half-hour talk, with 142 slides — all images, no text. You’ve gotta watch the clip, but here’s another stand-out quote from the marketing guru:

“It’s about you deciding what important, because if you’ve got the means of production – the laptop, the access to the world – and you wanna stand up and lead, you can. I guess my goal – my job – is to help people understand that they can pick themselves. They don’t need to wait to get picked.”  

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As I sat at my desk with my computer this evening scouring the Internet desperately to find content worthy of this blog with my iTunes on random, “Roots, Rock, Reggae” by Bob Marley came on. Simultaneously, I gave up my search and looked to Facebook for some inspiration. For the first time I can remember, Damian Marley’s Facebook page had a status update.  The status said:

“Millions of children are facing starvation right now – this doesn’t have to happen. Save The Children has launched an emergency aid response in Africa. Please watch this video, share with friends and download Bob Marley & The Wailer’s ‘High Tide or Low Tide’. All proceeds go to the East Africa appeal. YOU CAN HELP NOW.”

Below there is a link that goes to the official Bob Marley Be A Friend web site. The organization has released a Bob Marley song that can be downloaded with proceeds going to food situation in East Africa. If you are a college student on a tight budget (like myself), you can simply share the YouTube link through social media.

Be A Friend is also partnering with the organization Save The Children to bring support and help on the ground in East Africa as I am writing this and you are reading it. Additionally, 1Love is joining in on the initiative with their 1Drop 1Love program where you can donate one dollar to Charity Water through the 1Love web site.

The teams from Be A Friend and Save The Children have been on the ground long enough to see the drought coming. They have been on the ground supporting families as much as possible through supplying them with cash for food and desperately working to provide fresh water. They plan on staying on the ground in East Africa and working to prevent the severity of impact from future droughts.

Even though Bob Marley is no longer with us, his music lives on. Perhaps more importantly, his name, celebrity status and mission behind his music are leading to social good more than when he was on this Earth.

“Let’s get together and feel alright.”

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You have to be the 55-year-old, balding, possibly slightly overweight CEO of a major organization to be considered an effective philanthropist, right?


Results from Cygnus’ recent donor survey and the Giving USA Foundation’s Giving USA 2011 studies both illustrate the readiness, willingness — and potentially, effectiveness — of the younger generation of currently untapped and rarely targeted individuals.

As the 2011 Cygnus report points out, adults under the age of 35 are untapped, yet willing:

“…fundraising gears its energy and budget towards donors already demonstrating higher gift value while paying only minimal attention to those at the other end of the giving spectrum. These younger donors, currently giving less but very willing to give more, are more likely to be overlooked than stewarded.”

One 29-year-old saw this problem and developed a solution: The Northern Virginia Community Foundation’s Future Fund.

Ryan Rauner, 29-year-old real estate broker and philanthropist, at the Future Fund's inaugural gala. Photography: Evy Mages/For Capital Business

In an article from The Washington Post, young real estate broker and philanthropist, Ryan Rauner “believes people in his age group have a responsibility to contribute to the community.”

“Young people want to give back. You just have to get them in the door,” said Rauner.

Furthermore, the stereotypical profile of a philanthropist is changing — and well, has to. Just months ago, CNN Money headlined an article, “America’s wealthy turns less charitable.” CNN noted, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Slate Magazine

“The 54 most generous donors in America gave only $3.3 billion in 2010, the smallest sum since 2000, according to a ranking … The lack of high-dollar gifts is likely to cause pain as charities work to survive a tough economy.”

So, faced with these two challenges, here is my solution: Why don’t we develop an effective way to tap into young adults AND — since high-dollar gifts from traditional philanthropists are less common — cultivate a convenient, fun and meaningful way to get millions of small dollar gifts, instead?

This, my friends, is what we who are developing this communications organization, have set out to accomplish. And it’s awesome to see what others, like Rauner, are doing to help convert the age group, which has been traditionally stereotyped as “takers,” into “givers.”

Rock on.

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If you are like me, you have probably never heard of the Homeless World Cup.  It turns out, it is exactly what it sounds like; a worldwide soccer tournament featuring teams comprised of homeless people.  It is a program dedicated to including the homeless and marginalized into society through sport. And it changes lives.

At least 70 percent of the players participating in the program change their lives. Meaning they get jobs and contribute to society.  This happens through the organization’s “homeless-to-work” model and it worked for Lisa Wrightsman.

Wrightsman was featured in an article from the Sacramento Bee.  According to the article Wrightsman was a soccer standout at Sacramento State and was semipro when she dropped out of school and became addicted to drugs, which led to homelessness and eventually jail.

Through the Volunteers of America (VOA), Wrightsman learned about the Homeless World Cup.  She played on the VOA men’s team, the Mohawks and was named most valuable player at the national tournament, earning her a spot to represent the United States in Brazil at last year’s Homeless World Cup.

This year, Wrightsman has a full-time job and is also coaching the United States women’s team that will be competing at the Homeless World Cup. The Homeless World Cup has more than 70 grassroots organizations around the country in support of its “global change makers” initiative.

This is a program that truly changes lives for the better. It finds a place for the down-and-out, the less thought of.

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As students of the Missouri School of Journalism (or students at Missouri with close ties to the J-School) and being a part of a startup news platform, we are constantly scouring the Internet for articles that are interesting, inspiring and relate to what we are doing now. These are a few topics that have caught our eyes recently.


  • This New York Times article compares what the founders of EBay and Progressive are doing as philanthropists. Albeit, differing personalities, both of these founders and philanthropists are handing out business advice with the money they are giving nonprofits. Specifically, human resources advice. Do you think large companies giving money to nonprofits should stop there or try to force their proven successful business practices on the nonprofits.
  • In case you haven’t already come across this, there is a series on The Guardian’s blog about the process of creating a new startup media news/entertainment website. These former journalists left the traditional world of journalism where they felt their creativity being squelched to start anew. Very interesting stuff!
  • This is a story that has been making headlines and touching the hearts of many all week. As a nine-year-old, Rachel Beckwith displayed a since of maturity and selflessness that many, including this 24-year-old lack. If you have missed this story, please follow the link and read it. Truly inspiring.
  • Since we are on the topic of it, this article is technically a few weeks old but is very pertinent to Rachel Beckwith’s story. Actor, Matt Damon is the co-founder of Water.org and is doing some great things to help bring clean water to countries in Africa.

Hopefully you find these stories as informing and interesting as we did. Have a great start of the week!

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